Moon, Trump set for talks on upcoming US-N. Korea summit

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While denuclearization as a first step has always been USA policy, on Saturday, James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence under Barack Obama, said this was a mistake. Polls have shown majority approval for the plan to meet Kim, and many voters have expressed confidence in Trump's handling of the summit.

Given the timing of the North's exclusion of South Korean reporters from the ceremony, experts say that Pyongyang is pressuring Seoul - an easier target - to express its discomfort toward the U.S. and to extract more concessions. If not actually bused there, they will undoubtedly be reminded that Masik Pass, the North's luxury ski resort, and scenic Mount Kumgang, which just a decade ago was open to South Korean tourists, are just a short drive away. Pyongyang also canceled a high-level meeting with officials from Seoul.

North Korea has threatened to pull out of the meeting after comments by US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Despite the threats published in North Korea's state news agency, Trump has said plans for the summit are moving full-steam and that his administration has not received any threats issued directly from Pyongyang.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the USA president is asking aides and advisers whether he should continue to go forward with the summit.

Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this week to observe the closing of the country's Punggye-ri nuclear test site in a much-touted display of goodwill before leader Kim Jong Un's planned summit with President Donald Trump next month.

US officials said preparations for the summit were still underway despite recent pessimism - and privately suggested there would be additional public maneuvering as both sides seek to maximize their leverage.

The summit ended with a joint declaration that both countries are committed to denuclearization and officially ending the war 65 years after the armistice.

"Denuclearisation is not off the table for the North, but it expects the United States to end the so-called "hostile policy" as a precondition for denuclearisation".

Trump has not been deeply engaged in briefing materials on North Korea's nuclear program, according to three people with knowledge of the White House efforts.

"The Trump administration is getting a little bit nervous that there really is no deliverable here", said Carl Baker, director of programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Pacific Forum.

Now, Moon will need to convince Trump to stay the course, reassuring him the direct talks with North Korea can still be the success he once promised Trump they would be. He said the goal is to force Washington to make as many concessions as possible before the summit. But if make a deal, I think Kim Jong Un is going to be very, very happy ...

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington, DC.

Trump said if such an agreement is reached, China, Japan and South Korea would invest large sums to "make North Korea great". North Korea historically views denuclearization as applying to the whole peninsula as a mutual arms control process.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said in a statement, "Our government thinks it is regrettable and unfortunate that our press corps was not able to visit North Korea because there were no follow-up measures despite the North inviting our journalists to the Punggye-ri nuclear test site dismantlement ceremony scheduled to be held between May 23 and 25". It has promised to invite journalists from the USA and several other countries to witness the demolition, and satellite images have shown what appear to be viewing stands being built nearby.

In the run-up to the most-consequential summit of Trump's presidency, the president's Cabinet members are also doing their bit to foolishly stoke up concerns.

After mulling the rhetoric for the past week, White House officials now believe Kim was attempting to test Trump's willingness to make concessions ahead of the summit, according to a U.S. official. -South Korean military exercises, Baker said.

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